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Article

Erica Campbell

was born the son of Mildred Abdulah (née Hughes), a housewife, and Walter Abdulah, a civil servant, in Woodbrook, Trinidad. He attended Queen’s Royal College, a secondary school in Trinidad and Tobago’s capital, Port of Spain, from 1937 to 1944. From there, he moved on to earn a bachelor of arts degree, with a major in zoology, at the University of Pennsylvania (1946–1950); a bachelor’s in theology at Trinity College in Canada (1951–1954); a master’s of theology at Union Theological Seminary (1962–1965); and a doctor of ministry degree at Seabury-Western Theological Seminary (completed in 1993).

It is clear that education played an important role in Abdulah s life as revealed not only by what he achieved academically but also by what he did when he attained those academic credentials His has been a lifelong journey of learning which has been the foundation ...

Article

Clayborne Carson

clergyman and civil rights leader, was born David Abernathy near Linden, Alabama, the tenth of twelve children of farm owners Will L. Abernathy and Louivery Bell Abernathy. Abernathy spent his formative years on his family's five-hundred-acre farm in rural Marengo County in southwestern Alabama. His father's economic self-sufficiency and industry spared the family from most of the hardships of the Great Depression. “We didn't know that people were lining up at soup kitchens in cities all over the country,” he would recall in his autobiography, And the Walls Came Tumbling Down Abernathy 6 Along with other family members he attended Hopewell Baptist Church where his father served as a deacon and decided early to become a preacher a commitment strengthened by a conversion experience at the age of seven Abernathy attended high school at all black Linden Academy a Baptist affiliated institution Having little exposure to whites during ...

Article

Robert Fay

Ralph Abernathy was born in Linden, Alabama, to William and Louivery Abernathy. He earned a B.S. degree from Alabama State College, and was ordained a Baptist minister in 1948. In 1951 Abernathy received an M.A. degree in sociology from Atlanta University and became pastor of First Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. He and Martin Luther King Jr., protesting segregated public transportation, led the successful boycott of the Montgomery bus system in 1955.

In 1957 Abernathy helped Dr. King found the Southern Christian Leadership Council (SCLC) to coordinate nonviolent resistance to segregation. After King's assassination in 1968, Ralph Abernathy became SCLC president until he resigned in 1977, after which he served as a pastor of a Baptist church in Atlanta. His autobiography, titled And the Walls Came Tumbling Down, was published in 1989.

See also Montogomery Bus Boycott.

Article

Kenneth H. Williams

Abernathy, Ralph David (11 March 1926–17 April 1990), civil rights leader and minister, was born David Abernathy in Linden, Alabama, the son of William L. Abernathy and Louivery Valentine Bell, farmers. A sister’s favorite professor was the inspiration for the nickname “Ralph David,” and although Abernathy never made a legal change, the name remained with him from age twelve.

Abernathy’s parents owned a 500-acre farm, one of the more successful in Marengo County. His father, a community leader, served as head deacon of the local Baptist church for nearly forty years, became the first black in the county to vote and serve on a jury, and contributed heavily to building and maintaining schools in the area, including Linden Academy, the high school Ralph attended.

From the time he was a child Abernathy aspired to the ministry As he related in his autobiography The preacher after all was ...

Article

Jennifer Jensen Wallach

minister, civil rights activist, and close adviser to Martin Luther King Jr. An Alabama native, Abernathy was one of twelve children born to successful farmers who had managed to rise from sharecropping to owning a five-hundred-acre farm. Abernathy's father was a deacon in a local church, and from a young age Abernathy wanted to join the ministry. He became an ordained Baptist minister in 1948. In 1950 he received a BS in mathematics from Alabama State University. He began what became a career in political activism while in college by leading demonstrations to protest the poor quality of food in the campus cafeteria and the lack of heat and hot water in campus housing. While in college he became interested in sociology, and he earned an MA in the subject from Atlanta University in 1951.

Abernathy became pastor of the First Baptist Church in Montgomery ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

Roman Catholic cardinal from the Ivory Coast, was born in the Ivoirian town of Monga on 2 March 1926. At the age of six, he received his baptism and began his education at a Catholic mission school in the town of Menni. Agré entered a Catholic seminary school in Bingerville in 1941 and remained there until 1948. He then attended seminary at the Beninese city of Ouidah from 1958 until his ordination as a Catholic priest on 20 July 1953. From his ordination to 1965, he was a priest in the town of Dabou. Agré then joined the teaching staff at the Bingerville seminary he had once attended and served there from 1956 to 1957. From 1957 to 1960 Agré studied canon law at the Pontifical Urbanian University and he graduated with a doctorate His return to Côte d Ivoire coincided with the country ...

Article

Vincent F. A. Golphin

the seventh African American to be named a Roman Catholic bishop in the twentieth century, was born in Selma, Alabama, the eldest son of Nancy King and Henry Anderson. He attended Payne and Clarke Elementary Schools, then went to Knox Academy High School in Selma, where the class of 1949 chose him valedictorian.

Born on the eve of the Great Depression, Anderson came into a life of financial desperation and racial fears caused by hard-drawn racial, religious, class, and caste divisions. Poverty and color lines were thick in Selma, and the teenager was inspired by the white Roman Catholic missionaries of the Society of St. Edmund who came south to aid black development. They and the Sisters of St. Joseph of Rochester, New York, arrived in Selma in 1937 and built a hospital school and youth outreach center in response to Pope Pius XI s call for Catholics to ...

Article

Chima Anyadike

Nigerian Roman Catholic cardinal, was born on 1 November 1932 to Arinze Nwankwu later baptized Joseph and Bernadette Ekwoanya in the rural town of Eziowelle in southeastern Nigeria Of humble beginnings he was in his early years raised in the Igbo traditional religious system until he was nine when he was baptized into the Catholic church by Father Michael Iwene Tansi the first and only Nigerian to date to be canonized by the church As a teacher and parish priest Father Tansi could not but notice that the young Arinze was humble hardworking and intelligent since he came out in the first position in his class examinations Arinze s aspiration to priesthood was largely a result of Father Tansi s influence and interest in him His father was however initially opposed to that aspiration As a cardinal Arinze still remembers the terms of that opposition You will not become ...

Article

Terence M. Mashingaidze

nationalist politician, first titular president of independent Zimbabwe, statesman, peace broker, clergyman, author, soccer administrator, academic, poet, and journalist, was born on 5 March 1936 at Esiphezini, in Essexvale (now Esigodini) District near Bulawayo in Southern Rhodesia. The versatile Banana’s father, Aaron, was a migrant laborer from Malawi while his mother, Jese, was a Zimbabwean Ndebele woman. Banana married Janet Mbuyazwe in 1961; the marriage produced three sons and a daughter. Banana attended Mzinyati primary school and Tegwani High School. He trained as a teacher at Tegwani Training Institute and then attended Epworth Theological Seminary, resulting in his ordination as a Methodist preacher in 1962 Subsequently he worked as a Methodist schools manager principal chairperson of the Bulawayo Council of Churches and member of the Rhodesian Christian Council and World Council of Churches In the 1970s Banana attained a BA with honors in theology through distance learning from ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

religious and educational leader, was born to a family of chiefs in the town of Rusengo in eastern Burundi. The names and occupations of his parents are not known. He attended primary school in Rusengo from 1927 to 1933 and completed his secondary education at the Mugera seminary from 1933 to 1939. Barakana then decided to complete his theological training to become a Roman Catholic priest. He underwent training at the seminary in Nyakibanda from 1939 to 1947 and was ordained on 25 July 1947. Soon afterward, he went to the Vatican to study for a doctorate in canon law, which he received in 1950. Barakana thus became the first Burundian to ever receive a doctorate. Barakana decided to join the Jesuit Catholic religious order and officially became a member of this order on 20 May 1953 at Djuma in the Democratic Republic of the Congo ...

Article

Bairu Tafla

prominent Ethiopian church scholar, monastic head, and first Ethiopian archbishop and patriarch, was renowned for his chastity, his religious devotion, and his unflinching loyalty to Emperor Haile Selassie I rather than for his reforms and/or teachings.

Like most Ethiopian dignitaries, his early life is obscure. The available sources give different years ranging from 1877 to 1892 as his birth date. Similarly, a document of the Orthodox Churches Conference in Addis Ababa asserts that he stayed in exile in Jerusalem during the Italian invasion while Baʿeda-Maryam, who wrote a doctoral dissertation on his biography, asserts that he was a fugitive in his own country. There are also discrepancies in the dates of his early ordinations and appointments.

Son of Debtera (church precentor) Wolde Tsadeq Selomon and Emmet lady usually a widow Wolette Maryam Bayyu Gebre Giyorgis as Basilios was known before he became patriarch was born in the subdistrict of Metta ...

Article

David McBride

physician and public service and church activist, was born Leonidas Harris Berry on a tobacco farm in Woodsdale, North Carolina, the son of the Reverend Llewellyn Longfellow Berry, general secretary of the Department of Home and Foreign Missions of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, and Beulah Harris. Leonidas acquired the desire to become a doctor at the age of five, when a distinguished‐looking local doctor treated a small wound on his foot. The young boy was impressed by this “miraculous” event. His aspiration to go to medical school intensified while he was attending Booker T. Washington High School in Norfolk, Virginia. In 1924 Berry graduated from Wilberforce University and went on to obtain the SB in 1925 from the University of Chicago. In 1930 he also received his medical degree from the University of Chicago s Rush Medical College Berry continued his medical training earning an MS ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

Congolese Roman Catholic cardinal, religious leader, and martyr, was born in the Lari village of Mpangala in the Congolese district of Kindamba. His mother Biyela and his father Sémo named him Biayenda, “the lost treasures” in Kikongo, to honor the early deaths of Biyela’s parents. The couple had three children before Biyela’s death, one of whom would later be executed by firing squad. Ultimately, Sémo married another woman, and Biayenda remained close with his half-brothers, including the poet Maxime N’Debeka.

Biayenda began his primary studies at Pangala in 1935 and then continued his education at the Catholic Mission School of Kindamba from 1937 to 1942 Léon Lebanitou a schoolmate of Biayenda recalled how serious the future cardinal was as a boy and how he concentrated on praying rather than playing soccer Another former classmate remembered how Biayenda washed peanuts with soap before cooking them for a group of missionaries ...

Article

David Killingray

Pan‐AfricanMarxist and scholar. Blackman was born in Barbados and won a scholarship to the University of Durham, where he studied theology. He was ordained in the Anglican Church and went to the Gambia as a missionary priest, where he clashed with his bishop over differences of pay for white and black clergy. Having resigned from the Church, Blackman returned to Barbados, but then, in 1938, he settled in London. He joined the leftist Negro Welfare Association, of which he became chairman, and also the League Against Imperialism, being a major speaker on both their platforms. He also became a member of the Executive Committee of the more liberally inclined League of Coloured Peoples, and in 1938–9 editor of its then occasional journal The Keys, writing critically on colonial policy; he also gave evidence to the Royal Commission on the West Indies. In November 1938 ...

Article

Congolese Protestant minister, was born near the town of Becimbola, located not far from the town of Lotumbe in the northwest Equateur region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Despite his major role as the head of the Église du Christ de Zaïre (ECZ), the church created at the behest of Congolese dictator Mobutu Sese Seko in 1970 that he presided over for roughly three decades, no single academic study has seriously considered his career. Most written sources have come from his host of detractors, further complicating understanding his life and controversial role as a religious leader. Bokeleale met a Congolese minister named Jean Bomenge in 1937 while the young man was organizing a party Bomenge convinced Bokeleale to enter the Disciples of Christ mission school at the town of Lotumbe not far from the provincial capital of Mbandaka The boy wanted to socially advance through acquiring literacy ...

Article

Eric R. Jackson

pastor, community servant, and civil rights activist, was born in Collins, Mississippi. The 1930 Census lists his parents as D. Douglas Booth and Mamie Booth, both of whom lived on a farm in Mississippi. He graduated from Collins's Old Hopewell High School in 1936. That year young Booth preached his first sermon. Booth attended Alcorn A & M College, where he received a bachelor's degree in 1940. Booth then enrolled in Gammon Theological Seminary in Atlanta, Georgia to obtain his degree in divinity. Several years later he entered Howard University in Washington, DC. In 1943 he graduated with honors from Howard University School of Religion, earning his bachelor of divinity degree, and was elected president of his class. While a student at Howard, in 1942, Booth married Georgia Anna Morris. Several years later, in 1944 Booth became the pastor of small Baptist ...

Article

Christopher J. Colvin

South African religious and political leader, was born on 10 January 1931 in Cape Town, South Africa to Mike Boraine and Isa Blanche. He grew up in the working-class neighborhood of Brooklyn in an English-speaking household and had two brothers, both of whom were killed in World War II. As was typical for white families of his generation, his early years brought him into very little contact with South Africans from other racial groups, and the political consciousness in his family centered mostly around the divisions between the English and Afrikaner communities in South Africa. After completing tenth grade, Boraine left school and worked at a variety of odd jobs. His father died when he was eighteen.

In that same year after a childhood that was relatively nonreligious Boraine attended a Methodist youth camp and experienced a dramatic conversion His rise through the church was equally dramatic Within a year ...

Article

Robert Fay

Born in Macon, Georgia, William Borders was the third generation of preachers in his family. He earned a B.A. degree from Morehouse College in Atlanta in 1929, a B.D. degree from Garrett Theological Seminary in 1932, an M.A. degree from the University of Chicago in 1936 ...

Article

Estelle Appiah and Margaret D. Rouse-Jones

a pioneering Roman Catholic priest who served in the Gold Coast (modern-day Ghana) in West Africa and the Leeward Islands, West Indies, was born in Dominica on 28 March 1910. He was the son of Sheriff Montague and Mary Bowers. From an early age, he showed an interest in the priesthood. His father, who was a head teacher of the Massacre Government Primary School, had been the roommate of George James Christian at the Mico Training College in Antigua in the 1890s. Bowers’s father had told his son about Christian, who had migrated to the Gold Coast in 1902. Bowers had met Christian during one of the latter’s return visits to Dominica in 1922.

On completion of his secondary education in Dominica Bowers set out on his journey of self discovery He enrolled at the only seminary in the United States that accepted students of African descent ...

Article

Kathryn Lofton

prominent African Methodist Episcopal (AME) bishop and political counselor. Hamel Hartford Brookins spent the latter half of the twentieth century attempting to integrate American politics and spur international black economic development. Born the son of sharecroppers in Yazoo, Mississippi, Brookins found early institutional success and spiritual support from the AME Church through his education in Ohio at Wilberforce University and Payne Theological Seminary. While attending graduate school in Wichita, Kansas, Brookins led an interracial ministerial alliance that defused the violence following the Supreme Court's school-desegregation mandate in 1954 with Brown v. Board of Education. This mediating prowess led to Brookins's appointment to the First AME Church of Los Angeles, where he remained for more than ten years.

During his time in Los Angeles Brookins cultivated his pastoral skills while developing his political interests establishing First AME as the symbolic center of black Los Angeles From the multimillion dollar church ...